Khotan can be described by the song of "the brave men break through the Tianshan Mountains and cross the Gobi, tell you about the beautiful Avalguli, whom I am looking for." Khotan is a bit far away but shining. It is located in the southernmost of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, south of Karakoram mountain, and deep into the hinterland of Taklimakan Desert in the north. In the East, it is adjacent to Qiemo County of Bayingolen Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture and southwest to Kashmir with a boundary line of 264km.
Khotan's climate is characterized by four distinct seasons. It is hot in summer and not cold in Winter. In spring, the temperature rises rapidly and sometimes comes along with a sandstorm, which reminds me of a sandsnow in Urumqi once in 2019. The snow was not white but dusty. I think pollution was serious. Autumn is the best time of a year.
Why visit Khotan
1. Khotan' CarpetS
A special product of Khotan with distinctive ethnic characteristics in colors, patterns and styles. Its colors are usually in high bright saturation and give viewers a joyful sensory experience. The feeling is like eating fragrant Brownie bars or listening to the song:
People call me Mayra
Poet Mayra white teeth and a good voice
Singer Mayra Sing a song when you are happy
Play Dongbula Dongbula
People get crowded under the roofs of my house
2. Khotan Jades
So well known all over China. Chinese people prefer jades as a symbol of nobility, faithfulness, and holiness. Features of Khotan Jades are in excellent toughness, which is of great benefit to the artistic modeling and fine carving. To these finicky users, the jades are tremolite with few impurities. My mother said once she felt delicate and warm when she wore the dark green jade I bought for her 60th birthday.
3. Mulberry Paper
It has a history of more than 2000 years. Making technology of Mulberry Paper was earlier than that of the paper invention by 100 years. It is a great cultural achievement of Khotan.
4. Atlas Silk
The silk is mainly produced in Jiya Township of Khotan City, located in the East Bank of Yulongkashi river. In ancient times, Khotan was the transportation hub of the South Silk Road and an important silk distribution center. In Tang Dynasty, a large number of Khotan silk were transported to the Middle East Asia and Mediterranean coastal countries through the Southern Silk Road. Since then, Khotan was very prosperous as described in the poetry, "Merchants were full of joy at profits, so were their camels."
5. Trekking Taklamagan Desert
It is the largest desert in China, located in the center of Tarim Basin. The whole desert is about 1000 kilometers long from East to West and 400 kilometers wide from South to North. It covers 330000 square kilometers. The average annual precipitation is less than 100 mm, but the average evaporation is as high as 2500-3400 mm
The first highway across the Taklamakan Desert was built in 1995 from Luntai to Minfeng with more than 560 kilometers. It is the longest road built in the mobile desert in the world.
The second desert highway was officially opened in 2008 from Alar city to Khotan City with a total length of 420 km (Highway II). Trekking in the so-called Death Highway and having a bonfire party are probably gonna be the best adventure.
1. The Museum of Khotan Carpets
More than 80 pieces of exquisite carpets, pictures, and materials related to Khotan carpets are collected in the museum. The exhibitions show visitors the history of carpets, art aesthetics, weaving technology, and developing trends in an all-around perspective way.
2. Gialli Atas silk factory
Do not imagine this factory has a reinforced concrete workshop, busy workers on assembly lines, and machines' roar. It is more like a garden with spacious front yards and a couple of rooms all built of brown woods. The roofs of yards are covered by green grape seedlings. There are a few old silk-spinning machines in the main room, which produce an atmosphere of nostalgia and retro. Silk weavers still keep the traditional manual skills of weaving carpets. That's why Khotan's rugs are elegant in texture.
3. Khonta Jade Cultural Wall
I am not fond of viewing human-made spots. I think they are of obvious purposes. Like the jade cultural wall, 19 reliefs are carved on both sides of the fence to tell tourists 1. history of the Khotan people picking up jades in Kunlun Mountain; 2. Yulonghe's jade gathering map; 3. Loulan people's making jade axes; 4. The Persian merchants sold jades etc. The cultural wall will promote the dissemination of jade culture and the development of local tourism.
When to come
The best Time of touring Khotan is in Autumn. At the time Kotan's scenery is charming with a blue sky, warm sunshine, and fragrant fruits. Although summer is hot and dry, the colorful flowers in valleys are always popular. You might like to read Tagor's poem by seeing them "Born like a bright summer flower /Not withered, not defeated, enchanting as fire/Bear the burden of the heartbeat and the responsibility of breathing/always enjoy it.
Winter in Khotan snows less but not cold. Days somewhat are monotonous and dreary. In March and April of each year, peaches and apricots are in blossom in Khotan. They open the spring door.
Direct flights are taking off from Khotan Airport to Urumqi then transfer to other Chinese cities. Train transportation is getting modernized but still has a big room for development. In 2010, Kashgar to Khotan railway was built to run. It is very significant. Kashgar and Khotan are both important southern cities of Xinjiang and undeveloped.
Eight long-distance passenger lines lead to Urumqi, Yli, Turpan, Karamay, Aksu, Daheyan, and Korla.
In Khotan, a tourist would like to stay in the following hotels. Please check them as references.
Khotan Huayu International Hotel
Khotan West Lake International Hotel
Khotan Wenzhou Hotel
The map of Khotan you might need